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Re: [BKARTS] conservation job at Harvard



I have always avoided the philosophical discussions in the past, but will
weigh in on this one.

I agree entirely with the sentiments of those who decry elitism in any form,
and the notion that without formal training one cannot be considered expert
in a field (I work in a field - computer networking - in which I have no
formal training).

Yet, I also feel it is appropriate for a major university to ask that
applicants for some positions have formal training (and the boatloads of
degrees that seem to follow).  Universities not only have to train their
students well (which does not necessarily require lots of degrees), they
also have convince others of the quality of their work, such as grantors,
alumni, certification boards, and colleagues at other similar institutions.
Other parties will constantly be judging universities, and the judges are
unlikely to spend a lot of time looking at the details.

The original note in this thread makes it clear that Harvard is looking for
an "academic" person - someone who will not only know how to conserve books,
but also fit into the general culture of their institution.  Should we
expect otherwise?  Unless and until the job market fails to disgorge enough
academically prepared applicants to fill these positions, we reasonably can
expect that academics will prefer academics.

If this discussion were about a "regular job," as opposed to an academic
position, I would be in more agreement with those who bemoan the requirement
of academic credentials.  In the world outside the ivory towers, we face
different demands (at least in many ways) than do those back in the towers.
This is not news to most of us.  If we want to work in academic careers, we
know well what we must do to prepare for that path.

Thanks.

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